Michigan Cop Sues Police Department, Says He Was Pressured to Find Black Athlete Guilty of Sexual Assault

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A Mundy Township police officer filed a civil lawsuit against Mundy Township and its police department alleging they pressured him to portray former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves (left) as guilty of an alleged sexual assault. Photo by Rachel Woolf/Associated Press.
A Mundy Township police officer filed a civil lawsuit against Mundy Township and its police department alleging they pressured him to portray former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves (left) as guilty of an alleged sexual assault. Photo by Rachel Woolf/Associated Press.

A Mundy Township police officer has filed a lawsuit against the township and police department, claiming that they pressured him to paint a former Michigan State basketball star as guilty of an alleged sexual assault.

Officer Brian Ogle filed the suit in a Genesee County Court on May 4 accusing the department of punishing him for reporting state law violations by the township and police department to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, The Detroit News reports. Wayne County is handling the investigation into former basketball player Mateen Cleaves.

In his complaint, Ogle asserts that his rights under Michigan’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act were infringed upon and says he “found himself at odds with defendants because he would not acquiesce to defendants’ pressure to portray Mr. Cleaves as guilty of sexual assault.”

Per The Detroit News, the Mundy Township officer began his investigation into Cleaves in September 2015 and informed the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office on Nov. 17 of “suspected violations” by the township and department. In a suspected retaliation, the township informed Ogle that he was in violation of their regulations on Feb. 4, the news site reports. According to the lawsuit, Ogle was then suspended for two days without pay.

He is now seeking over $25,000 for lost and potential earnings, as well as emotional damages, the Detroit Free Press reports.

According to Dean Yotis, Ogle’s attorney, his client was the first on the scene of the alleged sexual assault that took place Sept. 15 and had an opportunity to interview the victim.

“He concluded there had not been a crime committed. And the work environment after that was full of tension, and it got to the point that he got suspended for two days,” Yeotis said.

Cleaves, who played six seasons in the NBA, is accused of holding a 24-year-old woman against her will in a Mundy Township Hotel and sexually assaulting her, according to the Detroit Free Press. The former basketball star now faces charges of unlawful imprisonment, second-degree criminal sexual assault, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration, and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. If charged, Cleaves could spend 10 to 15 years behind bars, the publication also reports.

The former Detroit Pistons player took to Twitter on March 16 to deny the allegations, writing, “My family and I are devastated by these false charges. I am innocent and the allegations are without merit.”

Frank J. Manley, Cleaves’ lawyer, deemed the charges “outrageous, false and catastrophic to his career.” Per The Detroit News, Manley also told reporters Tuesday that he hopes the accusations made in Ogle’s lawsuit will be promptly investigated by the prosecutor’s office.

“It’s troubling to me that somehow it appears the lawsuit, if true, that pressure was brought upon Ogle to conform his testimony to a certain narrative,” Manley said.

Cleaves is scheduled to be back in court on May 17, The Detroit News reports.

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